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Field-scale estimation of the volume percentage of rock fragments in stony soils by electrical resistivity

Abstract : Analysing the properties and functional characteristics of heterogeneous soils containing several phases requires a correct estimation of the volume proportion of each phase. In the case of stony soils, the volume percentage of the content of rock fragments remains difficult to estimate in situ. This paper presents a method that uses field spatial electrical resistivity measurements to determine the volume proportion of rock fragments. Based on the hypothesis that the electrical resistivity signal noise increases as the proportion of rock fragments increases, a model was developed that uses the standard deviation of the apparent electrical resistivity measurements over a small area as an indicator of rock fragment contents. The model was tested on three study areas of several hectares containing soil units with varying quantities of rock fragments. The estimation of the rock fragment content was accurate, and the error estimation of about 6 % was the same order of magnitude as the Bussian model (1983). The developed model strongly depends on the water content in the soil and the rock type and must be calibrated in each context. Nevertheless, estimations of the rock fragment content in stony soils can be performed efficiently in the surface horizon as well as all along the soil profile.
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Marion Tetegan, Catherine Pasquier, Bernard Nicoullaud, Hocine Bourennane, Arlène Besson, et al.. Field-scale estimation of the volume percentage of rock fragments in stony soils by electrical resistivity. CATENA, Elsevier, 2012, 92, pp.67-74. ⟨10.1016/j.catena.2011.09.005⟩. ⟨hal-02652709⟩

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